The First Video SupplyFrame made documenting the Cabinet's build while at the SupplyFrame DesignLab!
This Project Consists of 5 Deliverables:
A Micro Arcade Cabinet+Mystery Puzzle Box: A trophy sized arcade cabinet powered by a single-board computer. It takes its aesthetic cues from 50’s era TVs and industrial control consoles, and is made out of a walnut and 3D printed SLA. It has multiple hidden puzzles and compartments that recipients need to find, solve and open to fully unlock the "College's Secrets". Once the cabinet’s secrets are fully unlocked it becomes a fully functional arcade cabinet capable of wirelessly connecting to the Lexaloffle BBS, which recipients can use to download and play PICO-8 games made by the Lexaloffle community.
A Video Game: A text based choose your own adventure video game (programmed via PICO-8) made to look like it's in the terminal that addresses recipients by name, uses details from their lives, and inserts it all into a series of morally grey scenarios written around WWII/Nazi, J. Edgar Hoover/FBI, McCarthyism era threats to arts and creative culture.
A Pocket Guide: Member’s Guide to joining the College of the Creatives. It details the College’s founding, history, and traditions. It also holds puzzles and codes hidden in its text that cabinet recipients need to solve to fully unlock the physical puzzles found on the cabinet.
Four Pieces of Supporting Collateral:
- A Decoder/Cipher Coin: A challenge style coin with an inbuilt cipher that is used to solve and decipher the puzzles and codes hidden in the text of the Pocket Guide.
- A Key: A key hidden in a hidden drawer that is used to unlock a hidden compartment found on the front of the cabinet.
- A Enamel Pin: A pin used to symbolize that the recipient has passed all of the College's trials. When worn this pin “marks" recipients as fully Lettered Members of the College of the Creatives.
- Letters: Letters included inside of the crate and cabinet that: address each recipient by name, introduce the person we're sending the box on the behalf of to them, and invite them to take the "College of the Creative's" trials to become a Lettered Member of the College. These letters also help fill in historical facts about the College, give context about its activities during and post WWII. The last letter will serve as a prestige, revealing our intentions, explaining our call-to-action, and inviting each recipient to help us fight threats to art and creative culture like the planned defunding of federal initiatives that fund art and creative culture in America by the current administration.
A Wooden Crate: A Baltic bitch plywood crate the cabinets will be shipped in to their intended recipients.
Below is a video of a foam core mock-up I made, before coming the the DesignLab, to walk people through the cabinet experience.
Who We Are:
In late 2015 my wife (Maggie) and I decided to strike out on our own, forming a small independent change-driven design studio/artist collective called MotherFather. Our collective is comprised of socially conscientious designers, artists, and makers obsessed with making the world a better place. We're focused on the belief that there is world changing power in thoughtful, empathetic, and communally engaging stories told from the heart that combine design, culture, and technology to create wonder and intrigue in the name of bringing people together to do good. We're committed to establishing ourselves as creatives that specialize in telling stories that matter and are worth sharing, and sincerely feel that making passion projects like the "College of the Creatives Cabinet" is the best way to reach that goal.
Why We Need to Make This/Artist's Statement:
There are multiple reasons why I personally needed to make this, mostly I've had the idea for the physical cabinet part of this project kicking around in my head in various states for the last 5 years, I just never had a worthwhile reason to justify making it until now... Personal and artistic justification to make this project finally came to me as I continued to develop it in my free time, at some point turning into a creative outlet for the anxiety and fear Maggie and I had been feeling related to the current political climate. As artists and designers we both innately understand the value, power, and introspective nature art creates within our society in times of political unrest. After the last Presidential Election we found we had a genuine desire and wish to see something like the College of the Creatives out in the real world "protecting the past, and inspiring the future" through art and creative culture. Given our professions, and the new Presidential Administration's announced plans to defund national public arts programs (ie: the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting), we think it's more important than ever that influential creatives band together and advocate:
- That other creatives become actively aware of the health of local creative communities in and around them that are outside of their creative craft
- Vigilance of threats to our shared cultural heritage
- The championing of a creative’s right to free speech
- The protection of existing art and culture using their clout
- The use of creative work to proactively inspire and empower others to do the same!
I guess more than anything else, this past election has personally challenged my team and I to try to do more. We want to help create an America we'd proudly call home, and think thoughtful story-driven art and design projects at the intersection of culture and technology are our best chance at helping create the kind of civic engagement and dialogue necessary to make that America a reality. We're determined and committed to using our craft and practice to help America work in more equitable and just ways for all Americans. Through this project specifically, we want to civically engage and mobilize influential creatives whose work resonates with us (personally) in the hopes of accelerating the changes we want to see within the communities we self-identify with and belong to (specifically the nerdy and creative communities).
We also want to try to use our work to cut through filter bubbles, newspeak, tyranny, cults of personality, hateful groupthink, and toxic culture we've all experienced in contemporary "public squares". We believe the best way to do that is to subvert and re-appropriate negatively associated cultural tropes like the irrational fear of the establishment and powerful intelligent women, wrap them up in a history lesson and present it as a counterpoint to the insidious transgressiveness that's grown out of the Gamergate imbroglio, taken root in our society with the rise of the alt-right movement, and spread throughout America like a wildfire since the last Presidential election. Also, if we're being perfectly honest, we are not fans of solutionism. Instead, we subscribe to the premise that art and design's values come from exposing the unseen, challenging long held beliefs, and starting new dialogues. With all of this in mind, we want to use our work to uncover new positive discussion topics that create opportunities for new thoughtful voices, socially-minded and diverse perspectives to bubble up.
Further driving this project is the personal inspiration and excitement we draw from open, inexpensive/free, easily accessible/low entry point and “available for everyone to use” technology. As tinkerers, artists, human-centered designers, and storytellers we see tremendous creative and storytelling value in new technology platforms (like the Raspberry Pi and NTC's C.H.I.P.) and existing technological infrastructures (like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube):
- As tinkerers and artists we're fascinated by relatively new technology platforms like the RPi and C.H.I.P., and want to explore the growing artistic applications the proliferation of inexpensive and embeddable single-board computers will create in contemporary artwork moving forward. We're also intensely interested in the broader implications their uses create related to the expectations, interactions and value the general public puts on art when it starts to resemble commonly accessible and often disposable off-the-shelf consumer electronics and collectables vs what is traditionally considered to be art as made with classically accepted and recognized mediums, which tend to be hung on walls and viewed at an arm's length distance.
- As human-centered designers and storytellers we feel existing technology infrastructure like Twitter is severely underused as a community building medium and tool for empathy, thanks in large part to its rigidly accepted uses and the toxic narratives everyone has come to associate it with. We further feel our cultural obsession with innovation is constantly pushing us to reinvent and ignore the fact that existing technology infrastructures (like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) can be used in different innovative ways. These technological infrastructures also represent HUGE mountains of rich data that anyone with good data framing parameters can use to access and find previously unseen insights that could be thoughtfully used to drive new kinds of public dialogue and engagement.
Mostly, as designers and storytellers we want to use new technology platforms and existing technology infrastructures to reach and move our audiences in new ways with our work. We believe the value of our work is in the creation of new engaging stories that are easily, happily, and widely shared via existing technological infrastructure like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube - creating public dialogue along the way. We also want to use technology to tell dense, interactive and engaging stories that help disrupt the cultural backlash this new transgressive social movement has created. We see nothing but opportunities in new technology platforms we've only just started scratching the surface of, and tons of unfulfilled potential in existing internet infrastructure thoughtful and intrepid creatives can use to create outsized positive sentiment and engagement with.
Finally, we'd be lying if we didn't admit that we want to have the opportunity to collaborate with and bring the people we're personally fans of together to amplify our project's call-to-action. By designing a secret and authentic art experience with timely social-action underpinnings+subverted negative cultural tropes that is thoughtfully targeted at its intended recipients, we think we've created a touchstone that authentically speaks to who these recipients are as people. It's our sincere hope that this project unexpectedly delights our targeted recipients, while producing a genuine connection to them that then inspires and mobilizes them to start a dialogue with the general public about the important role art and creative culture has played in their lives, careers, and America in general.
We want to dedicate ourselves to the design and making of artifacts at the intersection of culture and technology infused with the human touch that tell thoughtful, empathetic and communally engaging stories that help make the world a better place. Essentially, We want to make technology infused pieces of art that: create thought, start dialogues, and civically engage our audiences. If nothing else, we sincerely hope this project helps make America feel a little more like a place you'd like to call home, and/or inspires you to create your own "College of the Creative Cabinet" project you can use to contribute to a more egalitarian and peaceful America that understands the value and benefits federally funded art, and creative culture bring to a democracy like ours! Or, as one of my childhood heroes would say, "EXCELSIOR!"